Vatican asks Venezuela to suspend constitutional assembly

The Vatican has written to President Nicolas Maduro asking for Venezuela’s constitutional assembly to be suspended.

The Vatican’s call came after a fraudulent election gave Maduro the votes he needed to establish the assembly. The assembly has the power to rewrite the country’s constitution and override all other government branches.

This will enable Maduro to govern through decrees.

“The Holy See asks all the political actors, and particularly the Government, to guarantee the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the current Constitution,” the Vatican statement says.

It also calls for “the avoidance or suspension of ongoing initiatives such as the new constitutional assembly that, more than favoring reconciliation and peace, promote a climate of tension and confrontation and mortgage the future.”

On a broader front, the Vatican message says Pope Francis, who is praying for the country is asking “the faithful from around the world to pray fervently for this intention.”

This is the first time the Holy See has openly challenged the constitutional assembly.

Normally, it would defer to the local Catholic hierarchy in local affairs. However, the Venezuelan bishops have already been openly against the assembly and have sought help.

Last Sunday, when elections were taking place, the Twitter account of the Venezuelan bishops’ conference sent out a prayer asking the Virgin Mary to free the country from the “claws of communism and socialism.”

The message which was signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who is the Vatican’s Secretariat of State closes with an “urgent call” to Venezuelan society to end the violence.

“… inviting, in particular, the security forces to abstain from excessive and disproportionate use of violence.”



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